#MujeresExhibit18 Instagram campaign
Almost a month ago I was contacted by Jackson Heights resident and artist Ricardo Andres Verdesoto Rugel to help him find exhibit space for his phenomenal photo series titled "Mujeres." We have a some prior history with Ricardo here at Queenscapes, as he was one of the artists that participated in our two part "Queens for Puerto Rico" #QU4PR fundraisers last November 2017. Ricardo donated three large portraits of his "Mujeres" series and I knew automatically that these amazing photos should eventually be displayed on their own.
Since we were in the month of March, I came up with the idea to tie in Ricardo's photo series with a Women's History Month theme. I turned over the reigns of my Instagram page to Ricardo for the week, allowing him to showcase one photo a day with his artist process in an effort for him to get enough exposure to get a venue to showcase his work in his adopted hometown of Jackson Heights, Queens. We titled the Instagram campaign #MujeresExhibit18. 50% of all photo proceeds were to be donated directly to Voces Latina, a Jackson Heights based non-profit agency that provides HIV/AIDS and Violence preventive and intervention services to the immigrant latina community in a culturally sensitive manner.
If you haven't seen Ricardo's photography previously and you haven't seen my Instagram posts championing his work, here are your deets: The "Mujeres" project emphasizes on showcasing soccer jerseys as day-to-day lifestyle essentials, while working in collaboration with industry leading multicultural millennial women in New York City and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Ricardo adds,
"Fútbol is known worldwide to be predominantly considered a "man's sport," but in my eyes there hasn't been enough attention brought to the women who are fans of the game - especially underrepresented minority women. 'Mujeres' emphasizes on showcasing soccer jerseys as day-to-day lifestyle essentials, from the die-hard fan to the casual fan to wear.""I want to influence change, and rewrite the way we think about who the fans of the game are. It has become a movement, embracing female empowerment in diversity."
Within two days of our Instagram campaign to get Ricardo's work shown, he was invited by a longtime Jackson Heights community icon, the Arepa Lady to showcase "Mujures" for a two day pop-up shop on Saturday March 17th & Sunday March 18th. These dates were special because it coincided with the closing of the Arepa Lady's first brick and mortar location. (They'll be opening up shop again in 2 months at a bigger location at the corner of 37th Ave & 77th Street.)
Recapping quickly, the 2 day pop-up exhibit of "Mujeres" was a awesome success. It garnered a bunch of attention and opened doors for Ricardo to show his work again and with more detailed programming. Thank you immensely to all the folks at Arepa Lady for believing in this project, to all the amazing people who came out and attended the exhibit, and last but not least all the positive and tremendous support and feedback we received on social media.
I'll end this piece with a quote from the comedian Amy Poehler that, to me, most aptly fits the power of teamwork and is still my main motivation behind IRL community driven events, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
words by Adolfo Steve Vazquez photo by Ricardo Andres Verdesoto Rugel